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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Good Question

In light of my previous post on IQ's and SQ's, one might well ask, "Well, if you don't find any difference in the slob quotients between white and black, why the hell have you been living way down there in rural Virginia for the last 35 years, on a road where you and your wife are the only blacks (that you crazily prefer to call "Rainbows," and everybody else is "Euro," or white)? And from all that anybody has been able to see, all the while you've been doing that happily, too. Why don't you just go back up there amongst your own kind and let that be the end of it?"

That's a good question. And let me see. Where should I start?

First of all, my "own kind?" Having never encountered or heard of anything that could even remotely be considered to be "my own kind," I don't know who they could be and therefore I have no idea where they could be. That means that such a thing just doesn't exist.

Furthermore, I'm not living just anywhere in this countryside, just as I wasn't living just anywhere back in D.C. Both neighborhoods were/are on the odd, unusual side.

In D.C. we lived in a tiny enclave of detached but closely spaced small houses that in a sense were almost completely cut off from the rest of D.C. by main streets and by being right next to the U.S. National Arboretum. And by then "white flight" had left that neighborhood all-Rainbow as far as I know -- except for a crusty old Scotch carpenter and his wife, who, as it happened, lived right next door to us, though we didn't know they existed until after we moved in.. This guy had resolved that all his compatriots could flee the dusky invaders if they wanted, but by God, come hell or high water, he was going to stay there in his little white house till the day he died, and that is just what he did, peacefully.

And that is what I also hope to do, in my little homemade "green oak house" that I built here on this road with my own hands (and using a few of the tools that I inherited from old Gallagly), and I didn't move here because of who was already here. In fact, I was slightly fearful, having always thought that everything across the Potomac from D.C. was a howling wilderness. And in fact, I still think that, because Virginia is still basically a red state, even though there have been signs lately that it could be turning purple, while my home town, D.C., invariably takes the high road during national elections (though not with the local ones) by being the most consistently Democratic state in the whole Union, which helps to explain my own remarkable moral and political instincts.

The Virginia thoroughfare on which I live now, bearing a poetic if somewhat ostentatious name just as if it's some posh street in Chevy Chase, Maryland, or elsewhere, instead of being what it is, a gravel and sometimes rutted road that wanders on for miles deeper and deeper into woods where few people live but there is a huge forsaken-looking pine tree farm. Meanwhile the two mile stretch where that road starts and where we live is the most curious part, being populated by native-borns of modest means, homesteaders from the 1970's like myself and also generally of modest means, some retirees who have somewhat deeper pockets, and some miscellaneous move-ins, also of modest means -- four or five families in each group, though I'm beginning to think that those more affluent retirees are getting to be the majority.

This end of the road is characterized mainly by having a strong, artistic bent, of which I am also a part. Meanwhile I am on good terms with all the neighbors that I have met, which is most of them, just as I was at the Arboretum in D.C., and earlier on a more boisterous city street in the Trinidad section. And that is the main thing that matters. Being on good terms with your neighbors, who, all in all, were just as pleasant and law-abiding in D.C. as the ones here in the county.

Admittedly, the threat of some form of random petty larceny or worse was always hanging over our heads in D.C., much more so than it does here in the boonies. We made sure to keep our doors and windows locked tightly at night and when we weren't home, and I had never appreciated always having to be so conscientious about that, and for a long time I didn't put locks on the doors here on my new house in the woods, though after a while I did so, when a known criminal friend of a friend offhandedly advised me to. But there are places in this county where I wouldn't feel so secure, about being robbed and worse. Places where I would be rejected on sight, with all the attendant bad feeling, aggravations, and misgivings, somewhat more than in D.C.

I had never been happy with some aspects of the highschooling I got in D.C. There was too much thuggery on the one hand and too much Rainbow snobbery on the other. And I didn't think my son was having too good a time with it either, years farther on, so that was a big reason that I wanted to do the "back to the land bit" of the 1970's. I thought that things might be a little less uptight in a country school.

He would complain about school in D.C., but then down here he did exactly the same, though he ended up being showered with the kind of acclaim and praise that I never experienced, mainly because of the opportunities he had in becoming a track star and also the first chair saxophonist in the band, and when he went to college, he chose a place deep in the heart of a city even more packed with population than D.C. -- the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.

Chiefly however, I moved here to the sticks because I thought things would be much more pleasant if we were surrounded by oaks and hickories instead of people, and where I could use the fallen tree branches to keep warm, and I could have a big garden, and also I thought it would be really cool to live in a house that I had designed and built myself -- none of which were possible in D.C. or in any other city. And here somehow it all came to pass, not least because the chief virtue of the people here is not their ancestry, their intelligence, or even their slob content, but is instead their way of making themselves evident mainly by occasional muffled sounds far off in the distance through the trees.


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